Hell Yes, inspect that custom home!

Home Inspector with Safe@Home Inspections, LLC in SE Washington 215

I have agents ask me whether they should have a new home inspected. We're a little more trusting out here - everybody knows everybody else and new homes are supposed to be "inspected" by the local building departments.  I always tell them yes and tell them the story of a home that I did the forensics on - this one is still in litigation.


Now this is a bit extreme - I don't normally cut into walls to see what's happening but in this case, the homeowner was paying to have the structural components checked so we were intrusive.

This picture with the wood studs is indicative of what we found.  There was supposed to be a steel post in the corner supporting the beam.  In all, 4 steel posts were replace with wood.  Two steel beams were replaced. 

the client even asked the contractor if he could add another second story bedroom - and he did.  Without re-engineering the plans.  The walls below the new room are already bowing since they weren't designed to take that load.



The dining room, which cantilevered out about 15 feet was was originally designed to be supported on 5 10-inch diameter concrete pilasters.  Instead, there were 3 6x6 wood posts.

As you can see in the picture, these posts aren't below the frost line, don't have the proper footing ( we did more excavation later) and are going to ROT because the contractor buried them in earth - which was going to take the entire room down with it.

I ended up with pages of defects just like this - and worse.

So when anybody asks about inspecting a new home, my answer is an unequivical "Yes!"






Comments (7)

Ian Niquette
Square One Home Inspection - Markesan, WI

I agree Paul. I see people put more faith in their contractors than they do in their religion. It amazes me that people spend the amount of money they do on a new home, and DON"T have it inspected. I think most of this comes from the cliche that it's brand new, so it must be good.

It pains me to see peoples dream homes end up to be a nightmare, but we can only report what we find. I have really been trying to push for on going inspections from the actual clients while the building is going is being done. Some builders have been very receptive to it, but some not so much.


Feb 02, 2009 02:12 AM
Michael Manns
B4 U CLOSE Home Inspections - Dyersburg, TN
Dyersburg Dyer Co. Inspector

Wow I can't believe the contractor tried to get away with this. Holes in the wall, wood touching the ground what a nightmare.

Feb 02, 2009 12:02 PM
Jim Mushinsky
Centsable Inspection - Framingham, MA

There is nothing quite like a good beginning.  I hope this savvy custom home owner has a penalty clause in the contract.

I am also smiling at the intrusive inspection.  So many times that I just wanted to open up an area and show that there is more than a good chance of concealed damage.

I think the local building inpsector might want to outsource some work to you.  GREAT JOB

Feb 02, 2009 02:07 PM
Paul Duffau
Safe@Home Inspections, LLC in SE Washington - Asotin, WA
Caring for People, Educating about Homes

Ian:  I've been preaching to the agnets ever since I got involved in this house 6 months ago.  Some of them are starting to see the light.

Jim:  The local bulding department is not at all pleased with me.  Supposedly they did the required inspections but managed not to notice steel replaced with wood, the extra room, the electical in the return air supply (bridging two floors with interstitial space), missing concrete pilasters, etc.

It was fun to get into the building what was going on.  There was one bearng wall that that didn't have a foundation underneath it.  We cut into walls, cored the concrete, did some excavation - alot of this was stuff that I hadn't done since I worked in a materials testing lab.

I do feel rotten for the owners.  They're getting pretty well shafted on this whole deal.


Feb 02, 2009 03:21 PM
Ian Niquette
Square One Home Inspection - Markesan, WI

Paul, as I said, I think you have done a great job here. I am sure your client is very happy you found these problems, and it will help yo in the future. Good job.

Feb 02, 2009 10:52 PM
Jim Allhiser
Perfection Inspection, Inc. - Salem, OR
Salem, Oregon Home Inspector

That is great.  It is very interesting how the government agencys we all pay so much to keep us safe do a consistently mediocre job and have no liability.

Good stuff and keep up the battle.

Feb 06, 2009 07:20 AM
Paul Duffau
Safe@Home Inspections, LLC in SE Washington - Asotin, WA
Caring for People, Educating about Homes


There's actually a provision in the IRC that limits suits against the Building Officials.  They might get more diligent if they had more on the line.  As it is, you have to prove negligence, a much higher standard than incompetence.

Feb 09, 2009 11:08 AM